Put a Freeze on Pain
With the Winter season comes hot chocolate, nestling by the fireplace, tree lighting – and unfortunately, winter injuries. A fact of life, the season’s biting frost and unforgiving, slick surroundings can result in sprains, dislocations, and fractures. And for incapacitated athletes, that doesn’t make such a “wonderful” time of year.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that a whopping 246,000 people were treated at hospitals, doctors' offices, and emergency rooms for injuries related to winter sports in 2015. Snow skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and sledding, or “snow tubing”, were the major culprits. According to Men’s Health, the second most common skiing injury is a damaged MCL (medial collateral ligament of the knee), which occurs when you fall forward causing trauma to the knees. While the condition itself can sound complicated, preventing it is not; having a ski technician do testing to your gear, including the bindings, can prevent this frequent mishap. Also, for first time skiers, invest in a lesson or two to get started.
Speaking to an Orthopedic surgeon about sports techniques can be helpful in preventing injuries such as wrist injury and shoulder soft-tissue injury – the two most widespread snowboarding blunders. You may think, “if I fall I’m going to get injured.” However, how you go down is half of the solution/problem. Never put out an arm or hand to break a fall; instead, many doctors will recommend the “tuck and roll” option, which prevents the impact from hurting one region of the body – and can inhibit rotator cuff or shoulder dislocations*.
If you’re a winter sports aficionado and need to participate in these activities, your physician may suggest several things you can do to prevent injuries from occurring. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, being alert, staying in good overall physical condition, and throwing in the towel when tired are all excellent ways to deter ailments. Have you ever been on the slopes for hours when your buddy insists on getting back on the ski lift for round two? Overexertion is a major cause of injury, so knowing when to quit for the day can make the difference between a productive afternoon and a trip to the infirmary.
Always use the buddy system; orthoinfo.org stresses the importance of practicing winter sports in a pair or group. If you or your child plan to ice skate this winter, it’s best to do so away from hazardous obstacles – and always with a friend.
You’re never too cool for layers. Don’t be afraid to bundle up; it can offer the warmth and protection you need. The AAOS recommends bundling up in several layers of loose, water-resistant gear. Top it off with suitable footwear to ward off ankle sprains or twists. The National Institutes of Health also recommends wearing a helmet, goggles, and wrist guards as a precaution during certain winter sports.
Remember: it isn’t just Winter Games athletes who injure themselves. Even if you’re not trying to become the next Shaun White – performing dangerous stunts while snowboarding – the fact is, you can injure yourself doing something as simple as falling on black ice while taking a jog.
If you’ve experienced a winter injury – or just have questions about how you might prevent them in the future, call the experts at Spectrum Orthopaedics at 330-305-0838. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, their physicians have advanced training in sports medicine and can offer valuable insight and exceptional care. They offer the most cutting-edge surgeries and on-site rehabilitation, making your recovery as painless and convenient as possible. You can also schedule an appointment online, right now!